Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Educating children is way to beat tooth decay

I agree with your correspondent Robert Boyd (Write Back, February 19): it cannot be acceptable to medicate everyone in a community, regardless of need, or personal choice.

It goes against all medical ethics, as people should be treated individually by someone who knows their medical details.

In Scotland, the Childsmile programme is used successfully in schools. This is an initiative where young children are taught to clean their teeth properly.

Scotland has beaten its targets and a record two-thirds of young children now have no tooth decay.

Topical fluoride, such as toothpaste (or gel) has been found to be much more effective at preventing tooth decay than fluoridating tap water supplies.

Less than 1% of tap water is used for drinking – so 99% of it is being wasted by being used for washing and by industry.

Taxpayers pay for all that waste. Fluoridation by tap water is now outdated and can have harmful effects when consumed (it is a powerful chemical).

Half of children in fluoridated areas suffer dental fluorosis (permanent staining of tooth enamel). The American Dental Association has stated that fluoridated water should not be used to make up babies' bottle feeds, as infants can receive too much fluoride.

Scotland has got it right, with their targeted children's dental education programme. It should be used throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

ANN WILLS

Ruislip, Middlesex

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